February 22

Alexander Stephens

February 22, 1862 - statewide

A vice presidency can be thankless at best. But when you don’t want the job, and you don’t get along with your president, it’s even worse.

Georgia’s Alexander Stephens reluctantly supported secession in 1861. To his horror, he was elected Confederate vice president by the Provisional Congress, which hoped his election would persuade other Southern moderates to support the Confederacy. A general election confirmed his selection in November 1861. President Jefferson Davis worked closely with Stephens at first, but that didn’t last. Davis’ support for a strong central government and nationalist policies like the draft further alienated Stephens, a states’ rights man. He outspokenly opposed the president. As the war continued, Stephens supported a negotiated settlement. He met President Lincoln at Hampton Roads in 1865, but that conference came to nothing.

Despite grave misgivings, Stephens served until the bitter end after his official inauguration as Confederate vice president on February 22, 1862, Today in Georgia History.